29 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS CHINA • 亚洲法律杂志-中国版 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM/CHINA firms conducting ESG assessments in domestic investments need to refer to both Chinese and foreign laws, regulations, and guidelines. These include the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Standards, the International Organization for Standardization’s Guidance on Social Responsibility, and the Chinese Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting Guidelines. Zhang emphasizes the pivotal role of lawyers in ESG assessments conducted by PE/VC firms. Lawyers provide legal advice based on domestic and foreign laws and regulations related to ESG investment, offer optimal solutions according to regulations and standards promulgated by foreign institutions and organizations, assist with documentation management and review, and more. Furthermore, green bonds and other green financial products have seen increased adoption in China in recent years as clients leverage these products to accelerate their transformation. This has become another important service area for ESG lawyers. For example, energy industry clients use green bonds to promote investment in renewable energy projects, while power industry clients utilize such bonds to upgrade facilities or establish green power generation projects. Manufacturers tap into green financial products to advance environmentally friendly transformations in their production processes. Financial institutions actively issue green products to drive green finance development. Advising on such projects requires lawyers to possess knowledge not only of margin trading and securities lending laws and regulations but also the characteristics of green finance. They must implement effective compliance measures based on each client’s circumstances and design optimal deal structures. PROMISING FIELD The increasing emphasis on ESG factors, both domestically and internationally, has fueled the rapid growth of the first generation of Chinese ESG lawyers. During this process, lawyers have realized the unique requirements they must meet when advising on ESG matters. He and Zheng emphasize the need for diverse backgrounds among ESG lawyers. They should have expertise in environmental law, cross-border deal-making, and specialized knowledge of specific industries to understand their development directions and current status. Chen of DeHeng points out that, in addition to comprehensive ESG knowledge and legal backgrounds, ESG lawyers must possess a broad understanding of business, the environment, and other fields. They should have the ability to work across disciplines with environmental, social, and governance experts, consulting firms, and other stakeholders to provide integrated solutions to clients. Zhang adds that ESG lawyers should have a strong sense of social responsibility, continually monitor industry trends, and promptly update clients on the latest rule changes. He foresees the service coverage of ESG lawyers expanding to overseas markets and expects Chinese lawyers to play a significant role in international ESG discussions. In addition to enhancing their individual capabilities, more Chinese firms are establishing new ESG practice teams and becoming more deeply involved in this field. Chen notes that Chinese firms have room for improvement compared to European and US firms regarding the maturity of ESG practices. However, as the awareness and demand for ESG continue to grow among Chinese companies, he is confident that Chinese firms will increase investment, improve their professional capabilities, and elevate service levels to meet client needs. He and Zheng believe that although Chinese firms entered the ESG field relatively late, many leading firms, including JT&N, have ventured into this domain in recent years. The ESG Research Center of the JT&N Research Institute will continue its dedication to ESG research and promotion, striving to provide ESG legal services aligned with both international standards and Chinese practices. 越来越多国家的政府、监管机 构、投资者开始赋予环境、社会和治 理(ESG)愈发重要的意义,因此近年 来,许多商业主体将ESG标准内化到 企业运营和发展策略之中,中国企业 也不例外。 ESG概念肇始于发达国家,伴随 中国企业全球化脚步不断加快,不可 否认的是,许多企业正是在海外市场 收获了自己的“ESG第一课”。 “根据《2021年度中国对外直接 投资统计公报》,总量上看,中国已连 续四年位于全球对外直接投资流量前 三。”金诚同达律师事务所高级合伙人 贺国良、郑寰律师如此告诉ALB。 “新兴市场国家和发达国家市场 的ESG合规管理重点存在明显差异,但 全球ESG监管加强是基本趋势。因而, 在如此巨大的海外投资规模下,中国企 业确实在出海之路上更加频繁地受到 了ESG挑战。”他们说。 海外投资中的ESG挑战 贺国良、郑寰律师在许多出海项 目中为中国企业提供服务,他们观察 到,“现阶段中国企业面临的ESG挑战 主要发生在欧盟成员国之中,以德国、 法国等为代表”。 “从行业细分上看,矿业和能源 行业的出海企业面临挑战较大。例如 锂电池行业‘非洲采矿,欧洲建厂’的 商业模式,因其原材料供应链较为复 “Many Chinese companies have matured in terms of ESG-related matters in overseas investments and have already incorporated environmental and social risks into their investment decision-making.” — David Chen, DeHeng Law Offices ESG